Roger Clemens trial: Prosecutors seek to present evidence of McNamee injecting players with drugs

May 18, 2012

The Washington Post on May 18, 2012 released the following:

“By Del Quentin Wilber

Federal prosecutors asked a judge Friday morning to allow them to present evidence that their star witness injected other players with performance-enhancing drugs as they continued to press their perjury case against baseball legend Roger Clemens.

In court papers, prosecutors wrote that they felt it was necessary to seek the introduction of such evidence — which they believe will bolster their witness’s credibility — because defense lawyers have argued that Brian McNamee has “falsely accused” Clemens of having taken steroids and human growth hormone.

U.S. District Judge Reggie B. Walton had ruled that prosecutors could not introduce such evidence because it would be prejudicial to Clemens. But he said last year that he would reconsider his decision, depending on how defense lawyers attacked Clemens’s former strength coach.

Prosecutors wrote that they wanted to introduce such evidence because it would buttress McNamee’s contention that he injected Clemens with performance-enhancing drugs. He has said he injected Andy Pettitte, Mike Stanton and Chuck Knoblauch with such substances, and the players have all confirmed his story.

McNamee first made his allegations to federal agents, then to former senator George Mitchell, who issued a 2007 report on the rampant use of steroids in Major League Baseball. He later reiterated those allegations to Congressional investigators and lawmakers. Clemens is charged with lying to Congress in 2008 when he vehemently denied McNamee’s claims.

The government needs to “rebut defendant’s suggestions that McNamee lied to Special Agent Novitzky, Senator Mitchell, Congress, and this jury to avoid being charged with a crime and to gain fame and fortune as a result of the allegations against defendant, the government should be permitted to show that McNamee provided information about the use of HGH by Major League Baseball players Andy Pettitte, Chuck Knoblauch, and Mike Stanton, who all subsequently admitted to Congress (Pettitte and Knoblauch) or to the grand jury (Stanton, Pettitte, and Knoblauch) that the information that McNamee provided about them was accurate,” wrote prosecutors with the District’s U.S. Attorney’s Office, which is handling the case.

“Pettitte’s, Knoblauch’s, and Stanton’s admissions of their illegal behavior to Congress and the grand jury are the functional equivalent of guilty pleas. In the face of the attacks on McNamee’s credibility, that evidence makes it less probable that McNamee was or is simply lying out of self-interest against defendant and thus is relevant. This evidence specifically rebuts the notion that McNamee was biased out of self-interest in defendant’s case because McNamee’s association with these other players at the time he saved defendant’s medical waste, as well as the fact that he had and shared the information about other players at the time he was dealing with law enforcement, at the time of his publicity relating to what he told law enforcement.”

McNamee, a former Major League strength coach who worked with and for Clemens, started testifying on Monday and told jurors that he injected the seven-time Cy Young Award winner with steroids or growth hormone in 1998, 2000 and 2001. Clemens’s lead attorney, Rusty Hardin, began cross-examining him on Tuesday afternoon and has been hammering the former strength coach about inconsistencies in his story and lies he has told over the years.

That cross-examination continues Friday. Federal prosecutors have said they are going to call 14 more witnesses — though they have refused to disclose whom they intend to next put on the witness stand — in a trial that has already drawn sharp criticism from Walton for its sluggish pace. Walton has repeatedly warned lawyers for both sides that jurors are growing restless. He has already excused two jurors for sleeping.”

————————————————————–

Douglas McNabb – McNabb Associates, P.C.’s
Federal Criminal Defense Attorneys Videos:

Federal Crimes – Be Careful

Federal Crimes – Be Proactive

Federal Crimes – Federal Indictment

————————————————————–

To find additional federal criminal news, please read Federal Criminal Defense Daily.

Douglas McNabb and other members of the U.S. law firm practice and write and/or report extensively on matters involving Federal Criminal Defense, INTERPOL Red Notice Removal, International Extradition Defense, OFAC SDN Sanctions Removal, International Criminal Court Defense, and US Seizure of Non-Resident, Foreign-Owned Assets. Because we have experience dealing with INTERPOL, our firm understands the inter-relationship that INTERPOL’s “Red Notice” brings to this equation.

The author of this blog is Douglas C. McNabb. Please feel free to contact him directly at mcnabb@mcnabbassociates.com or at one of the offices listed above.


Roger Clemens trial: Jurors come with questions, and get to ask them

May 15, 2012

The Washington Post on May 14, 2012 released the following:

“By Del Quentin Wilber and Ann E. Marimow,

Jurors wondered whether key evidence might have been planted and if a former drug dealer regretted having “destroyed people’s lives.” And at least one wanted more testimony about a heated discussion that wasn’t fully explored in court.

Those are the types of questions that might pop into the head of a juror during any criminal trial. And that is usually where those questions remain, locked away until jurors are finally permitted to discuss the case during their deliberations.

But in the perjury prosecution of Roger Clemens, jurors have been asking those very questions in court — providing a rare and real-time window into the thought process of the 15 District residents sitting in judgment of one of baseball’s biggest legends. The questions, reviewed by the presiding federal judge before being posed to witnesses, have revealed that at least some jurors seem skeptical of the prosecution and want to know more about off-limits testimony.

The federal judge, Reggie B. Walton, has long advocated engaging jurors more directly in trials by letting them ask questions, and he has told fellow judges that the practice ensures jurors are attentive and properly understand key testimony.

Walton, who has lectured on the topic at the National Judicial College, permitted such questions during another big trial — that of I. Lewis “Scooter” Libby in 2007, a decision that was later hailed as a “terrific idea” by the case’s initially doubtful prosecutor.

In federal court, judges have the authority to allow jurors to query witnesses, though the practice remains uncommon. In recent years, the procedure has gained traction in academic circles and has been occurring with more frequency in state courts, legal experts say.

“The old view of jurors is that they are blank slates,” said Shari Seidman Diamond, a professor at the Northwestern University School of Law. “But they are decision-makers, trying to figure out what is going on. They are trying things out. Questions help them process. This has all kinds of benefits.”

In the Clemens trial, the questioning has worked this way:

After each witness has finished testifying, Walton asks the jury if it has any questions. The 12 jurors and three alternates — one juror has already been excused, for sleeping — represent a broad cross-section of District residents. Among them are a Giant food clerk, a retired political science professor, a former ANC commissioner, a WMATA security officer and a Treasury Department official.

Sometimes jurors submit questions on note cards, sometimes they don’t. Walton then discusses the questions with prosecutors and defense lawyers during a private discussion at the bench, where either side can object to the query. Walton does not pose a question if he feels it is not legally permissible.

This account is based on transcripts of those private bench conferences:

So far, the jurors’ questions indicate that some seem uneasy with aspects of the government’s case. After federal agent Jeff Novitzky testified two weeks ago, for example, a juror asked about the authenticity of evidence that Clemens’s former strength coach, Brian McNamee, turned over to authorities in 2008. The strength coach claims to have injected Clemens with steroids and human growth hormone (HGH) and saved syringes and cotton balls in a crumpled beer can. Prosecutors say scientists have linked Clemens’s DNA and steroids to one syringe found in the can.

“Could this evidence be planted evidence?” one juror wanted to know.

“McNamee had access to [Clemens’s] blood, plus using cotton balls with tissues to wipe it clean, correct?” the juror continued.

“He also had access to needles, is that correct?”

“Is this evidence really conclusive?”

After reading the questions to prosecutors and defense lawyers, Walton said “that’s for them to decide,” meaning the jurors.

“I am not sure any of those questions are appropriate for this particular witness,” said Assistant U.S. Attorney Steven Durham.

Walton sided with Durham and did not ask the questions.

Jurors also wanted to hear more from Andy Pettitte, a former teammate and close friend of Clemens’s who had been considered a key prosecution witness. The left-handed pitcher, who is making a comeback this season after having retired, told jurors that Clemens confided in him during a workout in 1999 or 2000 that he had taken HGH. But on cross-examination, he agreed with a defense attorney that there was a “fifty-fifty” chance he had misheard what Clemens had told him.

During questioning by a prosecutor, Pettitte briefly mentioned that he approached McNamee after Clemens’s revelation and the strength coach got upset. A prosecutor quickly stopped Pettitte from going any further because such testimony would violate hearsay rules.

A juror clearly picked up on the exchange and wanted to know, “When you talked with McNamee about HGH, he got upset. Can you speak about that incident?”

Walton did not ask the question, telling attorneys that he did not “understand the rationale how somehow McNamee’s reaction to what Pettitte tells him helps the jury.”

McNamee took the stand on Monday, and jurors could get the chance to ask the star prosecution witness questions by as early as Tuesday or Wednesday.

Last week, jurors sought clarity from the trial’s most colorful witness, Kirk Radomski, a former steroid supplier who testified in a thick Bronx accent that he sold the drugs to many ballplayers and to McNamee. Jurors wanted to know about a torn address label, among other matters.

In 2008, three years after federal agents raided his home, Radomski found several mailing slips and photographs in an envelope under a television in his bedroom that had been missed in the original search. One of those slips, which was torn and did not include tracking numbers, was addressed to “B. McNamee” at Clemens’ home in the Houston area. Radomski testified that the label belonged to a package of HGH and needles that he sent to McNamee.

A juror wanted to ask Radomski a follow-up question about how he had discovered the labels. And another wanted to know if Radomski had turned over other such slips to authorities in recent years. Walton chose to pose both queries to the former dealer.

Other jurors wanted to know if it was “common for strength and conditioning coaches to deliver steroids or HGH to athletes,” whether Radomski had discussed the case with prosecutors during a recess and how he felt about having “destroyed people’s lives by your actions.”

And, finally, a juror wanted to ask Radomski if he and McNamee had ever discussed Clemens. Michael Attanasio, one of Clemens’s attorneys, told Walton that he thought he had already asked that very question.

“I thought he said no,” Walton said.

“He did.”

“That’s why questions are good,” Walton said, “because sometimes jurors don’t hear it.””

————————————————————–

Douglas McNabb – McNabb Associates, P.C.’s
Federal Criminal Defense Attorneys Videos:

Federal Crimes – Be Careful

Federal Crimes – Be Proactive

Federal Crimes – Federal Indictment

————————————————————–

To find additional federal criminal news, please read Federal Criminal Defense Daily.

Douglas McNabb and other members of the U.S. law firm practice and write and/or report extensively on matters involving Federal Criminal Defense, INTERPOL Red Notice Removal, International Extradition Defense, OFAC SDN Sanctions Removal, International Criminal Court Defense, and US Seizure of Non-Resident, Foreign-Owned Assets. Because we have experience dealing with INTERPOL, our firm understands the inter-relationship that INTERPOL’s “Red Notice” brings to this equation.

The author of this blog is Douglas C. McNabb. Please feel free to contact him directly at mcnabb@mcnabbassociates.com or at one of the offices listed above.


Roger Clemens’ second trial starts Monday

April 16, 2012

The Washington Post on April 15, 2012 released the following:

“By Ann E. Marimow and Del Quentin Wilber

Former pitching powerhouse Roger Clemens returns to the District’s federal courthouse Monday to be tried for a second time on charges that he lied to Congress about using performance-enhancing drugs.

The baseball legend’s first trial ended after just two days last summer when the judge declared a mistrial because of a prosecutorial error.

Now the Justice Department will have another chance to try Clemens, an 11-time all-star accused of perjury, obstruction of Congress and making false statements. Clemens could face 30 years in prison if convicted on all charges.

The high-stakes trial begins Monday with jury selection, a process expected to include lengthy questioning of the backgrounds and biases of more than 80 Washingtonians. Some legal observers familiar with the case said the retrial gives the government an advantage because prosecutors have had a preview of the defense team’s approach and time to retool and prepare witnesses.

The government has the “upper hand” after hearing the defense’s road map for the case the first time around, said Steven Levin, a former federal prosecutor and criminal defense lawyer.

But Michael Volkov, another former federal prosecutor, said the government must overcome the challenge of convincing jurors of the importance of bringing such a case when no one was injured and no major national policy was affected by the allegations.

Volkov suggested that the government would have to tie its case to broader concerns about steroid abuse in professional sports and its potential impact on children.

“The question is, how do prosecutors make people care?” Volkov said. “Everybody believes Congress lies to them anyway.”

In their first round of opening statements last July, prosecutors said Clemens used performance-enhancing drugs to prolong his storied career and then lied about it to a House committee to shore up his legacy.

Clemens, 49, won an unprecedented seven Cy Young awards during his 24-year career with the Boston Red Sox, Toronto Blue Jays, New York Yankees and Houston Astros. His defense team, led by Rusty Hardin, said Clemens had a track record as a hard-working professional who was clean, and never lied.

A central figure in the case is Clemens’s former trainer, Brian McNamee, who told Congress he had injected Clemens with performance-enhancing drugs. Clemens’s lawyers have said McNamee, whose story about steroids has changed over the years, cannot be trusted.

Finding an impartial jury for such a well-publicized case could be tricky. The trial coincides with the start of the Major League Baseball season and the return to the sport of pitcher Andy Pettitte, a former Clemens teammate and friend who may be a key government witness.

“It makes a difficult process exponentially more difficult,” said Andrew White, a former federal prosecutor.

The Justice Department initially took the case after Congress requested an investigation into Clemens’s testimony to the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform in 2008. Clemens denied using steroids or human growth hormone following a 2007 report by former senator George Mitchell that identified Clemens and dozens of other players as having taken banned substances.

Major League Baseball has since 1971 prohibited the use of steroids and human growth hormone — known as HGH — without a prescription. The league explicitly banned steroids in 1991 and HGH in 2005.

U.S. District Judge Reggie B. Walton declared a mistrial last July after the government showed a video clip that included barred evidence.

Prosecutors led by Steven Durham and Daniel Butler played a videotaped segment of congressional testimony that referenced Pettitte’s wife. Andy Pettitte, who recently came out of retirement to rejoin the Yankees and was also named in Mitchell’s report, told congressional investigators Clemens confided in him about taking a performance-enhancing substance. He said he shared the conversation with his wife.

Laurie Pettitte gave Congress an affidavit backing her husband’s claims, and Walton ruled before the first trial that prosecutors could not raise her statements before the jury.

While Walton said he was troubled by the government’s misstep, he ruled that a second trial would not violate Clemens’s constitutional protection against double jeopardy, which ensures defendants are not subjected to endless prosecutions.”

————————————————————–

Douglas McNabb – McNabb Associates, P.C.’s
Federal Criminal Defense Attorneys Videos:

Federal Crimes – Be Careful

Federal Crimes – Be Proactive

Federal Crimes – Federal Indictment

————————————————————–

To find additional federal criminal news, please read Federal Crimes Watch Daily.

Douglas McNabb and other members of the U.S. law firm practice and write and/or report extensively on matters involving Federal Criminal Defense, INTERPOL Red Notice Removal, International Extradition and OFAC SDN Sanctions Removal.

The author of this blog is Douglas C. McNabb. Please feel free to contact him directly at mcnabb@mcnabbassociates.com or at one of the offices listed above.